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A wee mid week jaunt into town and a dander up Dublin Road and I found myself in need of refreshment outside ‘The Points’ bar on the Dublin Road.

On the outside there are old barrels arranged like a cordon to separate a seating section from the public footpath. The doorway into the bar leads into a dark and dimly lit but spacious seating area that had me thinking I was in a Harry Potter movie with an expectation of some unpleasant surprise about to befall me. A long bar area is to the right of the room slightly recessed and opposite this a stage area, where I understand in the evenings there is live entertainment, adjacent to the stage is a fire place that had a healthy red glow warming the patrons seated around it, magic indeed.

I can remember this building when it was Tommy Kelly’s paint shop and it had a glass façade the length of the place and one could look up to the second floor where the wallpaper section was from a position just inside the entrance or from outside, but not anymore. This bar has a black ceiling and a variety of pictures and pub memorabilia fixed to the walls to create the appearance of an older and more weathered establishment.

A tiled area in front of the stage stretched out toward the bar and was surrounded by a well trodden wooden floor with it patina of wear and tear clearly visible despite the dim lighting.

I ordered myself a pint of Arthur’s finest at £4.40 from the chatty bar man who one could have taken for a customer as he wore nothing to identify him as a staff member. While standing awaiting the arrival of my pint I did take notice of a well stocked array of sprits clearly visible on the wooden shelves behind the bar. I noted a generous variety of whiskeys and whiskys on part of the bar and counted 54 different brands before my pint arrived and I had lost the will to count the gins as the pint was seducing me take it in hand.

The Guinness looked good and the head stayed on even when I ventured outside to watch the world go by with the Peterson and Miss Moran’s Sweet Mix for company. There is something about sitting outside with a pint and watching Belfast go about it’s business and chatting to folk who are there to take advantage of a dry day in the town. I was amazed at the changes on this part of the road that used to have trees growing on the footpaths from Bedford Street to Shaftsbury Square and the ‘Two Dirty Angels’ on the side of the old Ulster Bank building but this major thoroughfare is now a one way system taking traffic away from The Golden Mile as it was called back in the day.

I think ‘The Point’ had grown on me when I returned inside to use the gents and I suppose the spacious seating area inside meant the sparse lighting was not really an issue but more an attempt to make it homely. Tables and chairs are set about in the main body of the area and softer bench type seating is scattered around some of the areas away from the middle of the room.

The Gents toilets were clean and tidy with black and white tiling that brightened the space but I could only see one cubical which may pose difficulties if a urinal was not what you needed in a hurry.

All in all I had the feeling of something missing in this bar, an ambiance or character that one gets with older bars in Belfast was not here. Old drinks trays and dodgy paintings stuck on the walls are not really my cup of tea and I was glad that Herself was not with me on this we jaunt as there may have been more to listen too on the road home than the whine of the bus engine.

Would I be back…Yes but on a bright day.

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